Some scammers are taking a more direct approach to asking for money, according to BBC reporter Jane Wakefield. Wakefield received a call from a scammer who claimed to work for Microsoft, and she asked the scammer to take her number off the call list. The scammer replied, “Give me £1,000 and I will.”
While Wakefield immediately recognized this as a scam, she notes that many people aren’t so lucky.
“One woman had a mobile call telling her that there was an ongoing court case against her over an unpaid tax bill,” Wakefield writes. “The judge and jury were on the line, the scammer told her, but if she immediately transferred payment of £999, the case would go better for her. She panicked and paid but was told it was not enough. So she went to the bank, with the scammer still on the line, and sent another £4,000.”
She also notes that scammers frequently use fear tactics to motivate victims into paying up, often by impersonating the government.
“And the scams are getting more sophisticated and more threatening,” she writes. “One currently doing the rounds, purporting to be from the National Crime Agency, claims there is a warrant out for your arrest for ‘serious offences.’ Another common claim is that National Insurance numbers have been stolen, which might seem plausible given the number of data thefts. Although the request to immediately send money to the tax office should ring alarm bells.”
Alex Quilici, CEO of call-blocking company YouMail, told the BBC that scam calls are on the rise.
“The 2020 pandemic closed call centres so there were fewer, but now everything is opening up and robocalls are back,” Quilici said. “It costs almost nothing to make these phone calls and they don't need a lot of people to respond to make a profit.”
The BBC has the story.